Digital generated image of COVID-19 vaccine bottle inside pink neon triangle against purple background.

Moderna jab matched to Omicron sub-variants “provides good clinical protection”

Moderna’s experimental Omicron booster generates high levels of antibodies that neutralize the BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants, according to preliminary clinical trial data.

These subvariants have established in the United States and Australiaand are already driving a new wave of infections in the UK.

Moderna’s results, which have not been peer-reviewed, build on an announcement made earlier this month that people receiving the new booster generally produced more antibodies to Omicron than if they received a fourth dose of the original vaccine.

Paul Burton, Moderna’s chief medical officer, said the trial participants’ antibody levels were high enough to provide “good clinical protection” against BA.4 and BA.5.

“We know that an antibody level of around 400 units…provides very good clinical protection against COVID infection, and certainly against more severe illness, hospitalization, and death,” he said. declared.

Of the 437 adults who had the Omicron-specific booster, those who had not yet had COVID generated mean BA.4 and BA.5 neutralizing antibody levels of 727 units after one month.

People who had already been infected with COVID saw a massive increase in neutralizing antibodies BA.4 and BA.5: more than 2,700 units.

Participants are being tracked to see if they end up catching COVID, and when.

University of Queensland infectious disease physician and clinical microbiologist Paul Griffin said neutralizing antibody responses was a good substitute for protection, but how well the booster worked was more important in the real world.

“Obviously it takes longer to accumulate this data, so it’s a useful first step, but clinical studies will follow that will hopefully show efficacy in people.”

A two-in-one COVID vaccine

The updated Moderna booster, called mRNA-1273.214, was developed in January, when Omicron was sweeping Australia.

The photo contains instructions in the form of mRNA for your body to build spike proteins – protrusions that the virus uses to infect our cells.

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